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Hill highlights health care reform plan

August 19, 2009 | 08:38 AM

Indiana Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill was in Harrison County recently to speak to senior citizens and health care providers about the need for health care reform and to gain approval for the reform plan, labeled America's Affordable Health Choices Act, supported by many moderate Democrats.

During the August recess, several members of Congress had planned to hold town-hall type meetings with constituents in their districts to discuss health care reform, but many have faced attacks from opponents of the plan who have disrupted the meetings, and one representative even received death threats. Many representatives weren't able to communicate with constituents and some have called off the meetings.

Hill held meetings in Corydon, one at Autumn Ridge Apartments, a Blue River Services facility, and one at Harrison County Hospital. The meetings weren't announced until that morning, giving organizers little time to plan and disrupt the meetings. But even if Hill is facing a difficult battle on the plan, his home state is a perfect example of why many believe reform is needed.

In a report released recently by Families USA, a health consumer organization, approximately 1.6 million Hoosiers — 29 percent of residents younger than 65 — were uninsured at some time during 2007-08, and 1.1 million of those uninsured Hoosiers — 70.5 percent of the total — were uninsured for six months or longer during that time.

According to the report, the situation in Indiana is a reflection of what is happening nationwide. Approximately 86.7 million Americans — one out of three people, or 33.1 percent, younger than 65 — were uninsured at some point during 2007-08. According to Census Bureau data, 45.7 million Americans were uninsured for the entire year in 2007. The number of uninsured persons in Harrison and Crawford counties was 13 and 17 percent, respectively, in 2006, according to the Census Bureau.

"The huge number of people without health coverage in Indiana is worse than an epidemic," Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said in the report. "At this point, almost everyone in the country has had a family member, neighbor or friend who was uninsured, and that's why meaningful health care reform can no longer be kept on the back burner."

Hill, who laid out several key points in the reform plan at the meetings in Corydon, was welcomed by the group of senior citizens and only one seemed to disagree with the plan, but had no specific problem with it that he could address.

"I'm not a Democrat or a Republican," the man said. "I consider myself a political atheist. But from what I've heard about the plan on TV, there's a lot about it that I disagree with."

"What part do you not like?" Hill asked.

"Well, just some of the stuff they have been talking about on TV," the man responded.

"OK, and what was that?" Hill asked.

But the person couldn't come up with an example of what he disagreed with. Hill then told the group that the reform plan will not change anything for those on Medicare and that the "Donut Hole" in the Medicare Part D plan will no longer exist.

"The AMA (American Medical Association) has endorsed this plan," Hill said. "You'll have choices, regardless of what the detractors tell you. They are lying. That's a strong word, but it's true.

"This country has been talking about health care reform since Harry Truman was president, but it hits a wall every time. It's time to do this."

Hill also said that with the new reform plan, there would be no pre-existing condition clause.

"If you're sick now, you can still get on this plan," Hill said. "If you change jobs, you can take the same coverage with you. If you can't afford coverage, you'll be eligible for a subsidy to help pay for it. Small businesses will be given a 50-percent tax credit if they supply health insurance to their employers."

Hill said the plan can help lower the uninsured numbers in Indiana where:

•More than three-quarters of the state's uninsured, or 77.4 percent, were in working families, working full or part time.

•More than half of those individuals and families with incomes below twice the poverty level ($42,500 of annual income for a family of four) went without health insurance at some point in 2007-08.

"These startling numbers clearly document the seriousness of the problem and demonstrate what happens when a problem is ignored for too long," Pollack said. "It's important to note, however, that Congress and the president have already begun to address this issue by extending coverage to more than four million uninsured kids.

"The actions of Congress and the president were an important down payment on comprehensive health care reform, and they offer the promise that all Americans will one day have access to high-quality, affordable health care."

  1. print email
    What is the Congressman Afraid to meet his constituents?
    August 19, 2009 | 09:19 AM

    Either he is not prepared to answer their questions or he is going to vote for another tax and spend plan regardless what his consitutents want. Speaking to the un-insured the state of Indiana passed a cigarette tax to fund the un-insured and the fund is awaiting people to step forward to use it.

    People who have insurance now are expected to pay for those who do not is what the new socialist plan is about ...

    More tax and Spend and afraid to admit it.
  2. print email
    August 19, 2009 | 10:35 AM

    "People who have insurance now are expected to pay for those who do not is what the new socialist plan is about "

    we already do ,so what is your problem?
    the ER cannot refuse people care, so the uninsured use the ER as their primary place of care at enormous cost, which we all pay for .

  3. print email
    August 19, 2009 | 11:08 AM

    why did hill not want citizens to know about the meeting???

  4. print email
    Bias perspective
    August 19, 2009 | 12:35 PM

    Not exactly the same story I heard from people who actually made it to the meetings. I am disappointed this newspaper is unable to report this story without leaning left. Almost as shameful as Hill's "I've made up my mind and I'm voting for it" stance he took in the meeting. I will never vote for this man again. Obama is going through business sectors one-by-one and dictating what people can make. When do you think he will tell attorneys what they can make?

  5. print email
    August 19, 2009 | 03:10 PM

    No one seems to realize how much the uninsured cost us already. Most assume the uninsured are all jobless, but that is not the case. Many companies do not offer health insurance. If you are without insurance and you are suddenly hit with a $15,000 bill to have your Gallbladder removed it can be devastating. Based upon the vocal people against health care reform I guess the answer is to let them die. I bet they will be on the other side once they have a pre-existing condition that isn’t covered or they lose their insurance all together.

  6. print email
    August 19, 2009 | 08:40 PM

    Dear Lee
    It appears to me that one of the reasons the Corydon Democrat is almost dead (in spite of being the only game in town) is the many years of far-left editorializing by Randy West. Harrison County is heavily Democratic, but not the moonbeam "let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya" type. Save your opinions for the editorial page and you may save your newspaper. Good luck.

    Tom Powers
  7. print email
    We Need Health Care Reform
    August 20, 2009 | 04:07 AM

    I saw with my own eyes a old man that had no health insurance.
    He was taken to the bus stop.
    He was wheel to the bus stop on a wheelchair.
    He than up the steps on the bus, which I thought he wasn't going to make it.
    After he got on the bus he look like he would fall.
    He was given one bus ticket for the bus.
    It was not a pretty sight.
    They dump people who are do not have health care.
    I hope we have Health Care reform soon.
    Elaine D. Murray

    Elaine Dorothy Murray
  8. print email
    Many uninsured choose not to get coverage
    August 20, 2009 | 08:23 AM

    The numbers listed show that there are millions of people above the poverty level that can afford insurance but choose not to purchase it. Why should I be forced to? The moral imperative is that the government not steal from me to give to you! What incentive is there to pay for what the government plans to give away. Not my American dream at all.

  9. print email
    We're all ready paying
    August 20, 2009 | 05:35 PM

    "The numbers listed show that there are millions of people above the poverty level that can afford insurance but choose not to purchase it."

    Well, that's because under current law, someone can call an insurance company, and even if they can afford it, be turned down due to a pre-existing condition. What is a pre-existing condition? Whatever the insurance says.

    Secondly, the plans that are affordable often have very high deductibles - which means you keep paying out of your own pocket until you hit that minimum before insurance kicks in, and then, under those cheap plans, it often only covers 80% of select procedures.

    If you undergo surgery, and a blood analysis and urinalysis is sent to a lab that the insurance company does not approve of - you pay 100% of those lab fee, which can be a couple of hundred dollars per sample.

    Finally, millions of Americans are already covered under some sort of government sponsored plan - those members of Congress that are so opposed to the Obama plan are not giving up their government insurance for themselves or their families. The U.S. military and their families are covered under various federal plans.

    Obama's plans do raise some concerns - most importantly, how to cover the costs not just now, but 5, 10, and 20 years from now. But that is not the objections being raised. Instead, we are given the sight of Sarah Palin taking a break from keeping an eye on Putin and warning us about death panels.

  10. print email
    Good for Hill
    August 20, 2009 | 05:43 PM

    I'm glad he found a way to hold a meeting for his constituents without allowing it to become co-opted by people from outside the district who wanted to turn it into a sideshow attraction.

  11. print email
    I support healthcare reform
    August 23, 2009 | 09:42 PM

    I support health care reform because I have a daughter who just graduated college, unable to find a position with health insurance and one accident or disease and we could lose everything we worked so hard for all of our lives.

    I know people have questions and are scared of change but we must fight for this reform. Medicare is going to be in the red in eight years. Insurance premiums are projected to double in the next decade. People are choosing whether to eat or take their medicine - in America folks!

    The USA is the richest country in the world but we treat the citizens of this country like we live in one of the poorest. I encourage all of you to watch Sicko and Critical Care. People are afraid of the government being a middle man between the patient and doctor. Well my parents are on Medicare, a government run program, and never in their 10 years on Medicare has the government interfered. Me on the other hand, every time I need a procedure or surgery my insurance comes between me and my doctor. My doctor may spend hours on the phone trying to get my procedure/surgery approved. Only in America.

    I would like to see a single payer system. Just think about it for one minute - what would your life be like if health care was not an issue?

    The United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church have all endorsed health care reform. The American Medical Association has endorsed it as well.

    Have you checked your current insurance to see if it has a cap, meaning is their a maximum amount it will pay? Have you had any other surgeries, diseases, conditions in the past? Your insurance could deny you care for your next procedure, doctor visit by saying you have a pre-existing condition.

    My sister, who died in June, lost her job in February. She always thought her company let her go because she had cancer and they were paying too much for her care. Could she prove it? No.

    My greatest fear is not the government running a health care program, but what happens if the reform fails? Millions and millions will likely die - are you one of them? I certainly hope not. And just because you have insurance doesn't mean that it won't affect you. The insurance companies decide whether you are covered or not.

  12. print email
    Now, I will thank Baron Hill.
    August 23, 2009 | 10:47 PM

    Congressman, I thank you for supporting the public option. You should have moved more quickly on this though because if it fails, well, I'll have to take my thanks back.

    Barb Adams
  13. print email
    Hands Off Our Health Insurance Mr Obama
    August 24, 2009 | 08:37 PM

    This country is going to POT. If we allow the President to decide which Insurance we can or cannot have we have NO VOICE in these United States. It is bad enough we can't use God in our Pledge of Allegeiance in which we said everyday we were brought up in our schools when we were little. Without God we have nothing !!!!!!!!!!!

    Mary Paul.
  14. print email
    One quick questions
    August 25, 2009 | 12:35 PM

    Can someone please point out where in the constitution that it gives the president or congress authority to do this?

  15. print email
    August 27, 2009 | 05:34 PM

    While you're at it, would someone point out where in the constitution George Bush was given the power to declare war on Iraq? For pity's sake, people. Take a U.S. government class.

    Conservatives blab on endlessly about moral values but its all lip service. Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me". There's food for thought.

    So go ahead and ignore the needs of the poor and the sick and spend your time whining ad nauseum about how we can no longer force religion on children in public schools. If you really want to live in a theocracy, check out the Islamic Republics of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and see how that's working out for them. I bet their town hall meetings are incredibly productive.

    Oh, and the Democrat lean left? That's just plain funny.

  16. print email
    From each ability to each needs
    August 28, 2009 | 12:05 PM

    So where does the government derive this power under the Constitution? It was not our founding fathers' wishes to have government control of any private industry. How does it become someone else's responsibility to provide for my well-being? Your freedom to be who you want to be includes my right to be free from the choices you have made and vice versa. Liberties will deteriorate as socialism creaps in. Universal healthcare will be a gigantic leap towards communism. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." In that motto, there is no room for the American dream. it defies the spirit of the Constitution.

    Logan Hurst
Schuler Bauer Real Estate
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Alberto's Italian Restaurant
Barbara Shaw
Debby Broughton
Riggs Towing
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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 • 1-812-738-2211 • email